The growing importance of ‘human’ skills in a tech-driven age

April 16, 2020

Perhaps ironically, while technical skills are in high demand, so-called ‘human’ skills are increasingly sought after in an age of technology. They include communication and interpersonal strengths plus other ‘soft skills’ such as team working and cultural competence: the vast majority (88%) of our respondent’s rate communication and interpersonal skills as strongly important and 81% view soft skills similarly, while technology skills are considered vital by 69%.

The critical role of leadership

A word that comes up frequently in the qualitative survey comments is ‘leadership’. This is vital at all levels within organisations, and certainly within HR itself: 64% of respondents’ organisations are developing leadership competencies and behaviours as a priority within their talent agenda. Anecdotally, there is a correlation between effective leadership and morale. Today, good leadership is, of course, no longer characterised by ‘command and control’ or rigid hierarchies but is linked to inspiring and guiding teams and nurturing an environment in which everyone can meet the organisation’s goals and their own career needs.

Strategic HR and talent attraction

If HR has good leaders in place, supported by sufficient technology to enable the collection and analysis of relevant workforce data, it could thrive over the coming years, becoming ever more strategic and attracting a new generation into the profession: 69% of respondents agree that enhancing HR’s reputation by achieving a more strategic role within organisations is the key to attracting future talent into the discipline.

HR as a business partner

After all, 81% already feel strongly or moderately that HR is viewed as a business partner by their management team and 88% believe strongly or moderately that their HR team’s strategy is aligned to the company’s overall strategic business plan.


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